Milwaukee sees its most violent Memorial Day weekend in two years

Police responded to 15 separate shootings

More people were shot and killed in Milwaukee over the holiday weekend than the last two Memorial Day weekends combined, according to numbers released by Milwaukee Police Tuesday.

Police responded to 15 separate shooting locations, where four people were killed and more than a dozen others injured.

In comparison, police responded to one homicide each year over the last two Memorial Day weekends.

Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn reacted to the violence Tuesday saying more needs to be done after police make arrests.

Flynn echoed what Mayor Tom Barrett said Monday in that the majority of these shootings happened as a result of an argument or fight. Police say one woman was shot over a social media post, and another woman shot and killed over a shared relationship.

Police say two children were shot after adults started fighting in the street and fired guns. Flynn says many times these disputes escalate too quickly for police to have a chance at intervening.

"They go from arguments to fists to somebody goes to the car to get a gun within moments," Flynn said.

He says many of the suspects and victims from this weekend's violence had arrest records. In all, police made 150 combined arrests including everyone involved in the incidents.

"Overwhelmingly what we have is the same circumstance that plagues this city year after year after year, which is heavily armed offenders with extensive criminal records, frequently involving prior arrests for felony possession of a firearm...using deadly violence to resolve intra-criminal disputes," Flynn said.

Flynn wants to see stricter penalties for gun offenders because many, "don't care if police catch them with a weapon."

"Criminals want to have that gun because they face an uncertain, but light sanction if the police catch them, but if they're caught by another criminal they're likely to get shot," Flynn said. "So we're losing the basis for deterrence right now, they're not deterred by arrest alone."

So far this year, more than 200 people have been shot in the city and 40 people killed, the majority of those deaths by gun violence.

Flynn says the violence is concentrated in certain areas of the city.

"I get accused of blaming victims sometimes. I'm not blaming anybody. I'm describing a social phenomenon which is afflicting this city which is a large number of individuals with significant criminal records with unfettered access to firearms shooting each other and shooting innocent third parties," he said.

Police have arrested suspects in all four of the homicides from this weekend, and the district attorney's office is reviewing those cases.

"We're still out there, we're still doing our job, locking them up but we need more follow through, I think, if we're going to get these individuals to stop doing what they're doing," Flynn said.

Police had a total of 4,288 calls for service over the holiday weekend, starting Friday and ending Monday.

That's more than 1,000 calls per day and roughly 45 calls per hour. 

 

 

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